Friday, March 30, 2012

An update on life.

I received my first "flight bump" yesterday. The red-eye flight to DC was overbooked, and I was lucky enough to be one of the first volunteers. $400 in flight credit, plus meal covered and a hotel voucher. Sweeeeeeeeeet.

Presently on my way to DC for the Clinton Global Initiative University. It is, essentially, a student conference focused on dealing with global issues of climate change, poverty/human rights, healthcare, and education. One day of panel discussions, one (half-)day of public service, and lots of networking. I am here, pledging my commitment to keep assisting the Chife Foundation with their design work.

The Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) class is shaping up to be a good one. We have a class of talented, excited students, supported by three passionate sub-team leaders. A substantial amount of planning should help push the pace of each project. We are trying out Basecamp, an online project management tool. It's pricey ($20/mo), but worth a shot for one quarter. Who knows -- perhaps it will make a substantial improvement.

Cripes, what a crazy schedule… (Last week,) finish finals on Wednesday, go out DJing at BTB until 1:45am. Pack, sleep 45 minutes, then catch a 7am flight to Victoria. Teach five hours each day, plus two hours of private lessons, plus going out dancing for another 1-4 hours. Typically getting 4-5 hours of sleep. Visit with relatives -- the one truly relaxing part of spring break -- and teach another 2 private lessons each day. Stay up WAY TOO LATE on Tuesday, connecting with a woman (Eileen) with whom we had an instant bond. Probably had to do with both of us living and doing work in Africa. Lots of laughing about (and commisserating over) life in that continent. Fly home on Wednesday after rescheduling my flight because the seaplane was grounded on account of high winds. Pack and catch up on work Thursday, then head to the airport for an 11pm flight. Get bumped, go to bed at ~1am, wake up at 4am, catch a 6am flight to DC.

Phew. It's exhausting to even think about it.

And somewhere in this crazy time, I'm supposed to work on a grant proposal due in (less than) two weeks. Oy.

Still no word from NSF or NDSEG. I get twitterpated whenever I think about it. Best to keep it off the mind. One or two more weeks…

Was accepted into the Engineer's degree program. It's essentially a second Master's degree, with a research component. Levitt is supportive and energized about my research proposal. Getting the NSF would help with funding, though it seems likely that I could scrounge enough funding to make it through the program without paying tuition. (I would just have to work a lot harder for it.) I am definitely excited over the prospect of doing interesting work in IPD, connecting with international researchers for data, and embedding myself into the planning process of real construction projects. I am grateful to have found a line of research that is not isolated from the industry. No idea how people working in a lab, pipetting all day, can motivate themselves. (Props to them for the resolve, though.)

Grades turned out fabulously… A+ in Organization Design, A in Decision Analysis II, pass in my seminar class (ESW) and independent research. My GPA is back to a 4.00. (Stanford works on a 4.3 GPA scale, i.e. A+ = 4.3, A = 4.0, A- = 3.7.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What a relief!

Dead/finals week just got less stressful. The project due today, for which we would've pulled an overnighter to finish, was (by the grace of the academic gods) granted a week-long extension. Now we have the time to complete it without driving ourselves into the ground. Imagine that!

Lauren is visiting this weekend. She is on spring break by that point. Hopefully I can stay focused enough to a) reasonably complete my projects/exams, and b) still enjoy our time together. The tables have finally turned. For the first time, I'll be the limiting factor in how much we get to goof off. (She's had a very, very, very busy year.)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Big day today.

Big day today... Meeting with Howard Ashcraft, one of the originators of Integrated Project Delivery, the focus of my research. He's an extremely important person. I'm meeting him with my professor to discuss possible collaboration to improve understanding of IPD.